How I Stay Vegan #3: Dealing With Bullies

Any vegan can tell you a story about a time when an omni gave them a hard time for being vegan.  It happens for lots of reasons.  Some people just don't understand what we do and why we do it, it's a fact of vegan life.  There are entire websites dedicated to it, bumper stickers, t-shirts, and endless jokes.  So what are we to do?  Well, here's my plan.

Arm yourself with the facts.  You've seen this idea come up many times over the blog posts here, and I believe it to hold true for dealing with anyone who is being a pain in the ass.  You are going to get some wild questions thrown at you by people who don't understand (i.e. "don't plants have feelings?" or "you still eat fish, right?"), and knowing what you're talking about will usually pee on their parade pretty quickly.

Ignore them.  This is a step that usually comes instinctually when someone is being a complete jerk and is harassing you just to piss you off.  Just walk away, or close your IM window, do what it takes to remove yourself from the situation.  If you can't leave, tell them (nicely) to stop.  If you play their game, you'll only fuel their fire.  Here's some good reading on dealing with bullies that is geared toward school kids, but applies well here because most antagonists are at the same level of maturity.

Lead by example.  You'll probably have people who are close to you that will give you a hard time for your vegan diet.  You can't ignore these people or educate them with facts because they just won't listen.  What to do?  Show them how awesome you are!  When they start seeing how good you look and feel, hopefully it'll quiet them down and maybe help understand why you do what you do.

Jerks are everywhere, so we have to learn to deal with them.  How have you dealt with ruffians in the past?

Stay Vegan!

Photo credit dennisandluba on Flickr.

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Cam said...

Bullies are really hard to deal with, especially if they are close to you... you have to just stick with your beliefs and keep to your commitments.

I have a few people in my life who don't understand why I am vegetarian and struggling towards being vegan... but like I said, stick to it anyways!

Amanda said...

Staying at a b&b recently in Toronto, I came down to breakfast to be served vegan pancakes by a wonderful host! However, another guest was "curious" about my vegan diet and grilled me with questions (before I even took my first bite! how cruel!). How do you get your protein? Is it safe? etc. It was obvious she was already predisposed to believing that a vegan diet is "unsafe." I countered pretty well but I thought afterwards, why not turn the tables on these people next time and instead of "proving" to them that a vegan diet is healthy, why not ask them to explain why the sausage on their plate is? he he he! Of course, I think of these things after the fact!

Jen aka Jewbacca said...

my secret is that i cook for them. they eat my delicious food and are often amazed by my vegan super powers. i also try not to be what i often call a "vegan douchebag"-(yes, i know douchebags aren't vegan, but i mean the vegan police) and don't really talk about it in a way that alienates people. there are some vegans who tend to do that and they ruin it for everyone else just trying to be a fun loving peaceful vegan.

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